Courtney Coile

Provost and Lia Gelin Poorvu '56 Dean of the College, Professor of Economics

Researcher in the economics of aging and health.

My scholarly work is in the economics of aging and health, particularly retirement and disability policy. As co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)’s International Social Security project, I am working with researchers in a dozen countries to explore why workers in the U.S. and other developing countries are retiring later and how much of this trend can be explained by social security reforms. Another current project investigates the effects of disability benefits for U.S. veterans. In past work, I have examined how recessions and stock market fluctuations affect retirement and retiree well-being and whether older individuals are healthy enough to work longer. My work is published in academic journals, in the co-authored book Reconsidering Retirement: How Losses and Layoffs Affect Older Workers (Brookings Institution Press), and in the Social Security and Retirement Programs Around the World series (University of Chicago Press).

I am involved in the broader research community in a number of ways, including as co-director of the NBER’s Retirement and Disability Research Center, as an editor of The Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, and as a member of the Committee on Population at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

At Wellesley, I teach principles of microeconomics, econometrics, health economics, and public economics. The first two courses teach students how to think like an economist and conduct research, while in the other courses students use these tools to explore the health and government sectors from an economic perspective. I recently served as the inaugural director of the Knapp Social Science Center, which supports student and faculty research in the social sciences and promotes the exploration of issues like health and development from an interdisciplinary perspective

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two teen/tweenage children as well as running, cooking, and traveling.


  • A.B., Harvard College
  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology